Sunday, January 14, 2007

American TV

Scotsman John Logie Baird, one fine day in 1924 invented the television: and it is due to this unfortunate folly that Suddenlink Inc. fleeces me of $40 a month. That's the cable bill for the utter bilge that parades under the name of programming on my Television here.

Long Long ago, when I was still on the cozy shores of Motherland, I had (in the incarnation of a couch potato) posted about the status of television in India. I shall attempt to do something on those lines now. If you read the previous paragraph, you more or less know the stand I am about to take.

I need to get it out of my system, so I will talk about this first. There are many religious channels here on TV. There's these televangelists (usually corrupt-gigolo hiring closet homosexuals) preaching about the love of god. Comparing god to a loving mother is standard fare; requesting money ("donations") to make "god" grant wishes is equally standard. "God will grant your wish if you just move to the phone and pledge the paltry sum of $58".

And then there's the news channels. Fox, CNN and MSNBC. The former can fall into the religious category too: for all it shows is fawning republicans and subtle anti-Islamic propaganda. Fox's commentators defend the American way: how the American culture is under threat from those poor Mexicans they stole this land from more than a century ago; how the Iraqis are irresponsible and are refusing to let the American soldiers leave. ("Our troops are stuck in the middle of a civil war.") The president of the nation in question, Mr. Bush is a rather constant fixture on all these channels. It's almost like a reality show: each and every little movement of his is magnified, scrutinized and advertised. Of course, real issues are forgotten.

looks (one hour specials) are taken at destitute nations such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Cuba as potential sinks for weapons. [How would a war with Iran look?] Intense looking anchors (somehow) find themselves in one of the aforementioned nations and try to imagine how war would be with one of these nations. International news is usually restricted to nations of fair skin: viz. Europe and Australia. India does not get a mention unless effigies of Bush are being burnt or unless there's massive terrorist attacks in Mumbai. (Right now, there seems to be a love-fest of sorts. Indians seem to be in love with the US right now. Effigies of Bush are safer in India than any other nation in the world - including the US!). Some four prostitutes are killed in London and the US press just laps it up; but 20+ dead children, cannibalism, organ trade the Noida disaster does not get even a passing mention in the press here.

And now Let's move along onto MTV and VH1, which are in all probably the worst channels that I have ever seen. And I am comparing them with Alpha Punjabi and and DD Gujarati. TI thought they would have music videos on them: but I am still yet to see a music video on either channel. They just show some skimpily clad female carrying a dog in a purse in tears or something. Unless they're showing the 100 most hairy Hollywood eyelashes or something.

And then there's comedy Central and TBS, two watchable channels. Since they are not terrible, I will not describe them. Suffice it so say that they, along with the History Channel and the Weather Channel are the only channels that I watch in this country. The History channel, though partial to newly disovered Hitler videos and American Military propaganga, does show a lot of quality programming in series such as "Engineering an Empire".

The Discovery channel in this country is disgusting. All the science is essentially tremendously dumbed down. It's usually some repulsive weapons thing: when some smug military guy demonstrates how the US uses 5% its GDP annually to develop weapons that can destroy the whole world over some thousands of times. And then there's the programs about NASA's missions to mars and other planets. Presumably to bomb them with the American nukes at a future date, after failing to find WMDs in them.

As you can understand, the TV in this country is quite boring. Ah, what a great invention the remote is.


Radha said...

Haha...was funny!! And yeah, despite all this, we are still going to have a TV with cable - maybe the dish network...

Radha said...

actually lets forget abt TV - we have

Anonymous said...

hey, what about the late night incarnation of cartoon network - adult swim?

Rap said...

Of course ... that works .. but really, cartoon network otherwise is quite crappy.

Rap said...

One might have been a little too harsh on Discovery Channel. They have an incredibly nice series called "How things Are Made" which makes up for other bilge.